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Benz300 07-08-2005 04:32 AM

going labor rate for shops ?
 
I am curious to know what the average per hour labor rate is for independent shops these days. Here in NJ I'm seeing an average of 80 per hour by indys and 95 by the dealer. which makes me think I should just visit the dealer as I get a years warranty on the labor and parts where the indys have a history of just brushing their customers off if something's not done right or blaming on other parts that need to be repalced.
any input ?
thnx.

nhdoc 07-08-2005 08:22 AM

Around here (NH) the rates run from the high $60s for good independant shops to mid $90s for the MB dealer, so about the same as yours in NJ. It's not just the rate but the amount of time they charge to perform a job and the markup on the parts that makes the difference. I just had all four brake hoses replaced on my 560SL at my independant shop and had them flush the system with fresh brake fluid while they were at it. Parts and labor was $260. The same job was quoted at my dealer for "around $500" which probably means $600 by the time they are through based upon my past experience with their estimates.

There was nothing special required in terms of tools or experience, and frankly I could have done it myself but the parts and materials alone would have been close to $100 and it would easily have taken me 2 hours or more as I would have to jack up all 4 corners and put the car on stands since I don't own a lift.

In this case I elected to use good quality aftermarket parts rather than MB OEM brand. That was where most of the savings was realized. If I had required my indy to use OEM hoses it still would have been $100+ cheaper than the dealership but not half. I basically decide based upon the job and whether I am insisting on OEM parts or not as to where I have work done.

The same dealer estimated $2500 to replace the timing chain, tensioner and upper guides on that car while my indy charged me only $900...here, the parts and labor were both dramatically higher from the dealership so I elected to have my indy do it and he did a good job.

Bruno_300TE 07-08-2005 08:30 AM

Marty
Would you mind mentioning that trustworthy independent to me? Living in Boston (indy rates 85$, dealer 120$), it might be worth driving up to NH for the next bigger job (belt tensioner, valve job).
Regards, Bruno

nhdoc 07-08-2005 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bruno_300TE
Marty
Would you mind mentioning that trustworthy independent to me? Living in Boston (indy rates 85$, dealer 120$), it might be worth driving up to NH for the next bigger job (belt tensioner, valve job).
Regards, Bruno

Sure, for MB specific work I can recommend Amoskeag European in Manchester. They have lots of MB experience and did my timing chain work and are about the only shop around here specializing in MB. They also have free loaners if you schedule in advance. Pat is the owner there. 603-669-7750 . They do good work but they did try and sell me a head gasket and head rebuild job for a very minor (and common) oil leak which I felt was unwarranted...of course there was no pressure, just a recommendation that it be addressed which I guess I cannot fault them for, just know they may be selling you something you may or may not need. Maybe they were fishing for someone with deep pockets and limited auto knowledge. Again, be advised that like many shops they may try and sell you service that is more than you want.

For general repair work where MB experience is not a requirement I use a local shop called "Cambray's Auto Repair" in Nashua. Norm is the owner and is very honest but their MB specific experience is limited. They did my brake hose work. 603-882-0037.

smazur 07-08-2005 10:46 AM

In Boston I use European Car Doctors. Carmine is the owner and he specializes in MB, BMW, and Porsche. They're around back from the Beer Works at Fenway Park. $75/hour and very honest. 617 262-5525.


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